For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

basic principals and new faces

I've added a few more folks to the list of guinea pigs - dave is thrilled to have some company. 

Kristen is a friend of my sister in law whom i've never actually met face to face.  She hails from Ohio and has some background in endurance running.  She's regularly trained for much longer durations  (even in single workouts) than i'll be prescribing, but typically at much lower intensities.  One of my goals with her is to get her legs moving and see if we can't move her from where she is now - comfortably running a half marathon but taking about three hours to do so - to covering the same distance in about 2 to 2.25 hours. We'll see how it goes.

Jason (Schaeffer) is my 'average joe' subject.  He's a reasonably fit normal guy looking to get stronger and faster through a training program.  He doesn't have a ton of time to devote to things but has assured me that if he can get things done in three hours a week he'll stick with it.  He likes challenge and (as far as i know) has at least some experience with willful suffering, so i'm excited to have him on board.

For the benefit of these new additions i'm going to outline briefly a few of the basic tenents of the program:

1) the three hours a week really means six hours every two weeks.  however, most weeks will still include three hours of training, with variations from this occuring typically closer to target events during what i call 'build cycles'.
2) most weeks will be comprised of three workouts - one focusing on 'speed', one on 'tempo' and one on 'endurance'. 
3)  Speed workouts will typically be a bit shorter than an hour and have an interval structure - brief bouts of HIGH intensity work (called work intervals or WI) alternated with recovery periods (called rest intervals or RI). 
4)  Tempo workouts involve longer duration WI, often greater than 20 minutes long.  Pacing tends to be near or slightly above target race/goal pace.  These workouts will typically be about an hour long.
5) Endurance sessions focus on aerobic endurance and physically and mentally increasing the duration over which moderate level workloads can be maintained.  These are typically performed at what i call a 'base pace' and will often last slightly longer than an hour and have few or no specific WI or RI, favouring continuous efforts at lower (but not low) intensity.
6) Base pace will be a crucial element of the program.  it will develop and improve significantly over the first several months.  it should be thought of as the slowest pace you should be working at at any point in your workouts with the possible exception of RI during speed sessions.
7) Workout spacing:  although this is largely up to the schedule of the trainee, i find that a T/Th/weekend schedule works well.  What is crucial is to allow a full day (WHENEVER possible) between these workouts to more fully recover.  They should all, at least to some degree, be both physically and mentally taxing to the point that back to back workouts would, at the very least, not be something you wanted to do regularly
8) feedback:  i will rely heavily on the feedback you give me about the workouts.  The more details the better.  look at dave's training log to get an idea of the sort of details that are useful.  his later entries have been more tailored to what i'm looking for in terms of feedback.
9) Running cadence:  a previous blog entry (under tips and tricks) speaks exclusively about this.  I believe an important starting point in running training is to develop the proper technique.  a good place to start with this is running cadence.  Counting the number of right foot strikes per minute regularly during your runs will be important, especially at the beginning, as we try to get this number somewhere around 90.  This will be the focus of our runs until this cadence is automatic.
10) Recovery - there's another blog post on recovery that highlights it's importance.  High intensity work is useless and dangerous if you don't recover properly.  stretch regularly (i prefer to stretch immediately after my workouts, everything is nice and loose!).  Try to always have a 'good' recovery meal within an hour after each workout.  This can be as simple as a 16 oz. glass of chocolate milk.

Alright, that covers many of the basics.  Jason and Kristen start next week (my training weeks run from monday - sunday).  In the meantime, dave is in his first build cycle which will culminate in runs and bikes that should be half the distance he'll be doing in the ironman.  and thats still a long way off.  he's riding a high right now which hopefully will last him through these longer workouts.  I'm going to try to get him to write on here soon - will be nice to have another perspective.

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